By JAMES APA GUMUNO
THE 125 frustrated police recruits and their family members seized control of the Southern Highlands provincial headquarters and staged a sit-in protest yesterday.
The short-listed recruits “raided” the Agiru centre, ordered the public servants to evacuate and changed the padlocks to the main door and gate.
The recruits then conducted a sit-in protest with their parents from 8am to 2pm.
They want the Government to release their outstanding K800,000 allowance to enable them to proceed with their training. About K1 million was allocated for the recruitment drive last year.
One of the recruits told The National from Mendi that the money for the recruits was allocated in last year’s budget and there was no reason why they should wait until this year.
He said K200,000 was released last year but the remaining K800,000 for travel, uniforms and accommodation were not released, delaying their training.
“By next Tuesday, if there is no favourable response, we will take
the law into our own hands and take a different approach on the issue,” the recruit warned.
He said many of the recruits were former teachers, health workers, post office workers, while others completed their secondary and education.
“We will be back to check with the provincial authority regarding the release of the funds,” he said.
Provincial police commander Supt Jimmy Onopia said the recruits did not cause any damage to the provincial headquarters or assault anyone.
“They only showed their frustration by staging a sit-in protest and demanded that the provincial government release their money quickly so that they can go for their training,” he said.
Supt Onopia said he spoke to the protesters at 2pm and they left the building.
“I told them that they were potential policemen and women and urged them not to take the law into their own hands.
“Use the proper channels to express your concerns to the authorities,” he added.
Supt Onopia appealed to the provincial government to release the K800,000 quickly so that the recruits could go for the six-month training at the Bomana Police College.